I’m starting a new series on the blog, which, now that I think about it, might actually be my first real series. If you’ve been following me for a while you might have heard me mention “The Desire Map” by Danielle LaPorte. It’s a great book to read if you’re looking for direction or wondering why you chase things that never seem to give you what you need.
The basic premise is that we pursue goals because we think they will make us feel a certain way. But, instead, what if we pursued the way we want to feel? If we can define that, then we can better determine the things we ought to be pursuing because we’ll know what we really want. The book, of course, goes into more detail, and Danielle is very good about stirring your heart about this stuff, so please read it.
I discussed the book with Kayla Hollatz for the #CreateLounge Book Club podcast last month, which you can find here. In the course of the discussion both Kayla and I revealed our Core Desired Feelings (CDF’s), the four or five words that best describe how we want our lives to feel.
For me they are: Free - Creative - Love - Abundant - Ardent
So, in the spirit of vulnerability and honest dialogue, (also so I’ll have something to blog about for the next month), I decided to write about each of my CDF’s, the challenges and the inspiration behind them.
This week, I’m talking about Free.
My first Core Desired Feeling came to me before I even started the book. I knew Freedom was something that I wanted, something that I had been pursuing for some time, whether I realized it or not.
I’ve talked about it before, but a little over a year ago I packed up my life and moved to Atlanta with neither a job, a place to live, or a real plan. I had been wanting to for a while and tried my best to get here the “responsible” way, only to just take the leap anyways. That started a chain of events that has forced me to take leap after leap this past year.
People have called me brave. I don’t say that to brag, because the truth is I’ve been terrified most of this time. But I realized a few months ago that the things I have been most afraid of: the lack of stability and security, not knowing where the next paycheck is going to come from, simply not knowing, all of it was a natural byproduct of what I really wanted, which was Freedom.
Since I graduated college, I’ve had several day jobs. Some were better than others, but, with some exceptions, I enjoyed the environments and the people I worked with. But what they all had in common was that I didn’t have much control. It wasn’t just that I was the low man, either. No matter the job, I ended up doing a lot of work that wasn’t in my job description because I never felt like I was in the position to say “no”. So, I ended up wearing a lot of hats.
And I hated it. That’s why freelancing has always felt like a dream job for me. The ability to decide what I work on and when, without someone coming in and asking me to take on extra without dropping anything else.
But the thing about freelancing, as all freelancers will no doubt echo, is that you gain a lot of freedom at the cost of a lot of predictability. It’s not easy, especially starting out. You don’t just hang your shingle and everybody lines up. You have to build everything. You have to learn to embrace the lack of stability. Because it’s part of the process. If you want Freedom, you have to take everything with it.
And I’ve tried to remind myself of all of that in the past few months. Remind myself that I could go back. I could get the boring day job that gives me stability and security and makes my life predictable. I could. But it would cost me.
I’m still figuring out what this looks like, of course. It’s not easy, which is the understatement of the millennium, but there’s no way to really put on paper the black, screaming nightmare that this can be sometimes.
And all this is not to say I haven’t tried to go back. That was my plan when I got here. Only, (and it might be too much to say this is God), it hasn’t worked out. Maybe it’s not supposed to. I don’t know.
That’s Freedom. It’s scary because there are so few things that will tell you who you are, that will tell you if you are being a responsible adult and making the right choices. You have to learn to do that for yourself.
And that’s going to look different for everyone. Naturally. I’m still figuring out what it looks like for me. There are days I’m not sure. There are days when I would gladly give it up just to know that I’m not failing as a son, friend, person, writer. But, (and maybe this really is God), I’m still here.
Still trying. And I know that in my trying I’m moving towards Freedom, not away from it. And I know it’s worth it. Because that’s how I want to be, how I want to feel, what I want to give to others.